For around two years I’ve been a part of a lesfic slack group where we discuss life, books, and writing. Every month we vote on a book to read for book club and then host a question and answe session with the author. In March, I’m that author!
If you’re not familiar, Slack is a chatting platform that uses different channels to attempt to focus conversation. It’s a little different, but not overly complicated. You can sign up and only participate in book club or join into any other conversation. We aren’t scary.
Why should you read Rising from Ash?
Rising from Ash is a story about the healing power of connection and intimacy that takes place at the bottom of the world – the South Pole. On paper, Phoenix and Ash don’t make sense. Phoenix has had a rough life and learned to survive at a young age. Her preferred coping mechanism is casual sex. Ash had a stable life and is on her way to a PhD in astrophysics. She’s also asexual. Casual sex has never occurred to her.
When Phoenix and Ash meet, it isn’t instant attraction. In any other location they’d probably never speak to each other again. But a year at the South Pole provides the perfect opportunity for these opposites to see just how perfect they are for each other. Eventually.
If you’re a fan of slow burns, rooting for the underdog, geeky references, and food, Rising from Ash is perfect for you.
Sounds great, except...
I understand that for most people, a romance about an asexual character is confusing. This is because they don’t understand the asexual spectrum and make assumptions about the character. I’d like to address some of the concerns I’ve heard from people who aren’t asexual.
I can't relate to someone who doesn't like sex.
Raise your hand if one of the reasons you read romance is for the sex. You aren’t alone. This raises a myth about asexuals that I’d like to address. You’ll learn this in the book as well, but here’s the short clarification.
Asexuals can have and enjoy sex. Asexuality is a label addressing the lack of sexual attraction. Many asexuals will have sex, but they are unlikely to initiate it. Yes, there are others who are repulsed by sex. Asexuality is a vast spectrum for this reason.
In Rising from Ash, the character Ash identifies as asexual and demisexual. That means she doesn’t experience sexual attraction to people without developing an emotional connection first, and sometimes not even then. Part of her relationship journey with Phoenix is finding a way to honor her own needs while meeting Phoenix’s. And really, what relationship doesn’t have to navigate competing needs at some point?
I don't read books without sex.
That’s fair. You’ll be happy to hear that Rising from Ash does include sex scenes. I made the purposeful decision not only to include sex scenes, but to make the increasingly physical scenes between them as intense as I could for those who like that aspect.
I’m a person that doesn’t require sex scenes in a book, but I do appreciate well done ones. Being on the asexual spectrum, I understand that sex is a way that most couples connect. When written well those scenes move the relationship forward in their own unique ways.
This is how I approach sex scenes, and honestly every scene in a book.
What if I don't like sex scenes?
I did my best to balance the need for readers to be engrossed and fully invested in their relationship while recognizing that some asexuals don’t want to read books that include sex. But the way I write means that crucial character development happens during the sex scenes, so I hope you don’t skip them entirely. However, we all must exercise self care, so if skipping is required, I understand.
When I wrote Rising from Ash, I asked for far more beta readers than normal. From my very sexual friends to my asexual friends, I needed everyone’s opinions to make sure the story made sense. While no book is for everyone, this book was well received by many across the sexual spectrum. You can find many more reviews on Goodreads or Amazon.
If these reviews have intrigued you, I hope you’ll join us. I’ll be answering questions but also asking readers what they’d like to see in the sequel, which I anticipate starting in May.
Can't attend lesfic book club?
Leave your questions or wishes for book 2 in the comments. I’m a pantser, or discovery writer, which means that I discover the book as I write, with just a few key events planned ahead of time. Book 2 is a direct sequel, getting them off Antarctica and back into the real world. There’s truly no shortage of challenges I can throw at them, but I promise they’ll be stronger in the end.